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Taliban insurgents arrested with 11 tons of explosives en route from Pakistan to Afghanistan

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Afghanistan National Policeman in front of a banner of assassinated president Burhanuddin Rabbani
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Afghan security forces have arrested five militants with 11 tons of explosives that they had brought from Pakistan to use to carry out a massive attack in Kabul, as well as another three planning an assassination attempt against the vice president…

The reports of new planned attacks in the Afghan capital came just days after militants said to be part of a Pakistan-based group launched brazen coordinated assaults in the heart of Kabul and in other cities.

U.S. officials say they have stepped up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on that group, the Haqqani network, which specializes in high-profile strikes against well-protected targets.

Three of the five men arrested with the explosives were members of the Pakistani Taliban, while the other two belonged to the Afghan Taliban, National Director for Security spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiry said at a news conference. He said their orders came from militant leaders with ties to Pakistani intelligence. He did not say when the arrests took place, nor what their intended target was…

Tahiry said the captured explosives were in 400 bags and hidden under potatoes loaded in a truck with Pakistani license plates…

He claimed that the three Pakistani members of the group picked up the explosives just outside the Pakistani city of Peshawar, and were under the orders of two local Taliban leaders named Noor Afzal and Mohammad Omar, who Tahiry said had ties with the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI…

Washington has long demanded that Pakistan target the Haqqani network. They are seen as more ideologically tied to Al Qaeda than some of the other militant groups, and they have been particularly adept at sophisticated strikes…

Not that our criticism, arrests made by joint NATO-Afghan forces or any concrete evidence will make much difference in American foreign policy, American foreign aid to the Pakistan government. Our politicians have been as uncreative about foreign policy since early days of the Cold War as they are about education, taxation, the environment and issues more visible to the average American voter.

A plague on both your houses — adequately describes the usual response to Congressional politics. But, changing nothing about who is elected means nothing is changed by those elected and serving. As if we actually expected leadership and service from hacks who learned to “follow the money” long before the phrase became fashionable.

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Written by Ed Campbell

April 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

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